CarolCooks2 in my Kitchen…Chicken Jalfrazi…

We love an Indian Curry …This week we thought as we had some bell peppers to use we would make our version of a Jalfrezi. It is said that Chicken Jalfrazi was invented during the British Raj it is now on every Indian restaurant s menu…so what does Jalfrazi mean?… Jalfrezi’ means a type of Indian technique through which a hot & spicy curry is made with fried meat and vegetables. In Bengali, ‘Jal or jhal’ means spicy and ‘frezi’ means stir-fried…

Chicken Jalfrezi.

Jalfrezi is a spicy curry. It certainly isn’t mild. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the hottest, Jalfrezi certainly sits somewhere in the range of a 7-10. It is hot because the recipe includes both chilli powder and chopped fresh green chilli.

Ingredients:

500 gm of chicken with the skin removed and cut into cubes.

For marinade:

  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and either grated or as I do I blitz it together with the garlic.
  • 4-6 pieces of garlic peeled and grated.
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 -2 tsp of garam masala powder
  • Salt to taste.

For the vegetable mix:

  • 200 gm of onions peeled and thickly sliced or chopped
  • 1-3 green chillies sliced
  • 250 gm fresh tomatoes quartered
  • 2 tbsp ghee/oil
  • Salt to taste.

For cooking curry gravy:

  • 2 tbsp Ghee/oil
  • 1/2-2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

Mix the ginger, garlic turmeric, garam masala powder and salt together. Coat the chicken and marinate for 2-3 hours.

To cook the jalfrezi heat your ghee in a wok then add your sliced onions, chillies, peppers and salt and stir fry for 5 minutes.

Add your tomato wedges and cook until the onions are translucent and the tomatoes half-cooked about 10 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon and set to one side.

Add 2 tbsp of ghee and heat then add your chicken pieces..sometimes I use legs or thighs. Cook on high heat for 5 mins, stirring.

Add the chilli powder and the tomato puree. lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked. If it is too dry add some water we prefer a thinner sauce rather than thick and dry. Add the vegetables and cook for 5-10 mins.

smart

Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary…We like this curry as we prefer a tomato-based curry like the Jalfrazi …

Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice, mango chutney and flatbread or nan bread.

Enjoy!

Monday Musing’s 16th May 2022…

Welcome to Monday Musings where I share some things that have thrilled me, made me think or smile or even have a mini-rant although that didn’t happen often during the last week…May is in full swing now we are flying through the months…

This week is Mental Health Week and Clive has highlighted how important mental health is…please head over and have a read and if you are not already please be mindful…just a smile, a nod can make someone’s day its true what they say “Smile and the World Smiles Back”

https://cliveblogs.wordpress.com/2022/05/14/mental-health-awareness-week-2022/

I don’t about you but life seems to take over at times…not enough hours in the day…that is why I love a weekly roundup of blogs, and news it’s a time where I can “Take 5” and just relax and catch up…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/05/15/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-weekly-round-up-9th-15th-may-2022-ella-fitzgerald-st-thomas-magnesium-short-stories-podcast-health-travel-books-reviews-health-and-humour/

I have long been an admirer of Cindy’s photography and I especially love plants and trees…this beautiful Joshua tree has been captured by Cindy in bloom...the story behind it is a fascinating one…in the past, they were pollinated by Giant Sloths It always amazes me how plants and animals coexist to survive…

Standing straight and proud against a desert background the blooms must have been magnificent to see…please head over to Cindy’s blog to see the blooms in all their glory…

The Eurovision Song Contest…

I still remember when Sandi Shaw won, Lulu, Brotherhood of Man, Bucks Fizz, Katrina and the Waves then it got political …It has been many years since I watched it or even showed any interest in it…I am pleased that Ukraine won it though and amazed that the Uk came second..wow that’s not happened for many a year…in case you missed it…(like me)

That’s all for today I hope you all have a glorious week…our rainy season is upon us the grass and my trees are definitely lapping it up…I love a good tropical storm… but I am hoping when I go to the UK I get some sun as I remember the cold biting rains there…and those I can do without…I have no shoes only flip flops…

Thank you for joining me today I look forward as always to your comments… tomorrow it’s chicken  ..chicken is so very versatile…one of my favourite proteins quick and easy to cook!

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 8th -14th May 2022-Monday Musings, Health, Food Review “” and Saturday Snippets where “Glass” is my prompt.

Welcome to my weekly roundup…The month of May …a spring month in the northern half of the world, and a fall month in the southern half. It is likely named after Maia, the goddess of growth. May’s birth flower is the lily of the valley. May is the fifth month in the Gregorian calendar and has 31 days…May has many food months…National Asparagus, Egg, Salad, Salsa and Strawberry Month to name a few…all foods I love which means there will be some recipes…

Monday Musing’s are where I share any posts which have resonated with me over the last week or bits of news or maybe even a song…in this post, it was a little about the animals who are coming out of hibernation like the hedgehog and how we help by feeding then=m as they are natures deterrent and love to eat the critters who love to eat your carefully tended greens…

A beautiful song and a fabulous idea on how a lift can be installed on listed buildings and buildings that may not conform to the perfect shape for wheelchair access…plus the conker tree and candles…

Monday Musings…9th May 2022…Hedgehogs and Stars…

I promise no dragons were injured during the cooking of this dish…it is a lovely stir fry with a little bit of spice…with a side of one of my favourite vegetables…broccolini.

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen… Dragon Chicken with Broccolini …

Today I joined Sally on her posts about cooking from scratch to avoid nutritional deficiencies…This week it was Magnesium…

Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiencies with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Magnesium – Coleslaw, Pumpkin Seeds, Tom Yum Soup, Morning Glory

My mother always had a store cupboard as have I…even if you have just the basics it ensures you always have the ingredients to make a meal it especially comes in handy if you are shopping your fridge and need some herbs and spices or if you are making a new recipe there is nothing worse than getting halfway through and you are missing an ingredient it may be that your store cupboard holds an alternative to that ingredient which saves you buying something which either doesn’t store well or maybe you wouldn’t use it often enough to warrant the cost…

This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 1…Flours and Sugars…

Processed food is any food which has been altered in some way during its preparation. Some examples are freezing, canning, drying and baking…

Not all processed food is unhealthy as we will learn in this post but many do contain high levels of salt, sugar and fats added to extend the shelf life of foods and make it more palatable. It is also very easy to consume far more than the recommended daily levels because many people do not read labels or labels can be misleading and a single item of food can be called by a few different names which can make it quite hard for the consumer…

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…The Definition of Processed Foods…

Saturday Snippets…

Glass…if we look around us we can see probably more than one-way glass features in our home and kitchen…windows and shelves, mirrors and ornaments, photo frames, glass jars and bottles…then of course there is the fancy glass the beautiful hand-blown glass, stained glass windows…it is also reusable and recyclable but that’s for another post…

Saturday Snippets …14th May 2022…Today’s one-word prompt is “Glass” inside a Snow Globe

Thank you so much for joining me today for my weekly roundup as always I look forward to your comments…I hope you are all having a great weekend xx

Saturday Snippets …14th May 2022…Todays one-word prompt is “Glass” inside a Snow Globe

 

Welcome to Saturday Snippets this is one of my favourite posts of the week I learn much from my research and from your comments so please keep them coming…last week I learnt that the conker tree has candles how cool is that all these years and I didn’t know however my muse has been in fine fettle this last week she has stormed ahead and now my brain is in overdrive but it feels good as I have scheduled up until 9th July….

The Gherkin…London…or to be precise …30 St Mary Axe is a commercial skyscraper in London’s primary financial district, the City of London. It was completed in December 2003 and opened in April 2004…I have always been fascinated by this building and hope to finally go inside very soon… it’s on my to-do list…

The Gherkin has 24,000 metres squared of glass, but only one piece of carved glass—the lens at the top. The way the Gherkin is structured, there are six lightwells with 792 mechanised windows behind the dark spirals on the building to help disperse natural light throughout the building…it also boasts a very fine restaurant so I hear…

Glass Noodles…Glass noodles are made from vegetable starch – most commonly mung bean, and less often sweet potato, or pea. Semi-translucent when dry, when freshly cooked, glass noodles are truly glass-like and translucent…a salad with prawns is one of my favourite way to eat noodles…also known as bean threads…when cooked they really do look like glass…also a little goes a long way and although all noodles are carbs this is way to enjoy your noodles and consume fewer carbs.

These beautiful thin noodles are one of my favourites I don’t like the texture of the very thick noodles very much these noodles are also used in Thai noodle soup.

Ingredients:

  • 40 gm dried glass noodles
  • 1 good tbsp dried shrimp
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 10 sprigs of coriander leaves picked and keep stalks
  • 1-5 Thai chiliies
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar finely chopped..it is sold in little patties.
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce plus 1 tbsp
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tomato cut in wedges
  • 1/4 cup julienned spring onions.
  • 1 stalk of Chinese celery or 2 of the very inner leaves of normal celery
  • 100 gm of minced pork
  • 6 medium prawns(shrimp)
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts

Let’s Cook!

Soak noodles in room temperature water for 7-10 minutes until soft and pliable. Drain, then cut the noodles with scissors 2-3 times to shorten them. 

Place dried shrimp in a small heatproof bowl, cover with hot water and let sit for 3-4 minutes to soften. You can also cover the shrimp with room temp water then microwave for 1 minute, then let it sit for a few more minutes. Note these are very small shrimp and may find them in the freezer section of Asian stores or in the dried food section.

Place tomato, onion and Chinese celery into a large mixing bowl. When the dried shrimp are ready, drain and pound them in a mortar and pestle until they are broken into smaller pieces. Alternately you can chop them roughly. Add dried shrimp to the mixing bowl.

Cut cilantro/coriander stems into small chunks and place in the mortar and pestle along with garlic and chilies; pound into a paste. Add palm sugar and pound until dissolved. Add 2 Tbsp of the fish sauce and lime juice and stir to mix.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add glass noodles and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the water with tongs (you want to keep the water) and place into a strainer to drain excess water; set aside.

Add fresh shrimp into the remaining liquid and cook for 30-45 seconds or until they are done. Place the shrimp into the mixing bowl…

Pour out the cooking water, leaving just enough water to cover the bottom, and return the pot back to the stove. Once the water boils, add the pork along with 1 tsp of fish sauce and stir until fully cooked. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork from the liquid and place it into the mixing bowl.  Then add about 1 Tbsp of the pork cooking liquid into the mixing bowl as well.

Add noodles into the mixing bowl, pour the dressing over and quickly toss to combine.

Toss in cilantro/coriander leaves and plate. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve immediately!

Enjoy!

I am spoilt for musical choices with songs from Justin Timberlake(no) to Sia, Michael J, Blondie, Simple Minds, Britney S, Kelly Rowland, Oasis it seems they have all found something to sing about glass…even The Beatles with “Glass Onion”

Glass Fish…

The Glass House was designed by Philip Johnson…Inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, the Glass House by Philip Johnson was built in 1949 with its perfect proportions and its simplicity, it is considered one of the first and most brilliant works of modern architecture. Johnson built the 47-acre estate for himself in New Canaan, Fairfield County, Connecticut. 

The house was the first of fourteen structures that the architect built on the property over a span of fifty years.

After the glasshouse came glass igloos …of course they did…they do appeal to me a little more than the glasshouse although I do appreciate the concept behind the architect’s thoughts…

Glass Jelly…also known as leaf jelly or herb jelly, is a jelly-like dessert eaten in East and Southeast Asia. It is created by using the Platostoma palustre plant and has a mild, slightly bitter taste. It is served chilled, with other toppings such as fruit, or in bubble tea or other drinks. 

Glass Jelly Plant…

Known most commonly as “Cincau Hijau” or green grass jelly, the dessert that is made comes from the plant that is botanically known as “Cyclea Barbata” a slender vine with a hairy root stem and spade-shaped leaves.

Glass Jellyfish…Jellyfish are one of the most fascinating creatures in the marine kingdom. With its almost translucent form,  the movement of the jellyfish is almost hypnotic in nature and man has always had a fascination for these ancient creatures.

Once you know a little bit of the background of the jellyfish, they become even more interesting creatures.

Did you know?

They are perhaps the oldest living creatures in the world. They have existed for at least 650,000 years, even before dinosaurs!

They are found in all the marine waters of the world, from the very surface to the very depths. They are also found in some freshwater habitats.

There are more than 2000 known species of jellyfish and more species are being discovered on a regular basis.

More than 95% of the jellyfish’s body mass is made up of water.

One fertilized jellyfish egg can give birth to millions of jellyfish.

While most species of jellyfish are harmless to man, some of them can kill dozens of men in a matter of seconds…i.e. The Irukandji jellyfish is one of several similar, extremely venomous species of box jellyfish. With a very small adult size of about a cubic centimetre, they are both the smallest and one of the most venomous jellyfish in the world…having been stung by just a normal jellyfish not a poisonous one I can attest to the pain being like no other luckily a local lady made some concoction of leaves and it took the sting out within the hour…if I think jellyfish are about I don’t go in…

I can’t believe how many songs there are to choose from…I’m still debating Oasis but maybe not we were subjected to them at full volume when our son was at home…

What child is not fascinated by a snow globe? the first snow globe was created quite accidentally in the 1900s by Mr Perzy a surgical instrument mechanic… it was part of an experiment to increase the brightness of the invented and not very bright electric light bulb…the Perzy name continues to stand for quality snow globes made in Austria the home of the snow globe and sold all around the world.

The oldest known description of a snow globe-like object comes from an 1880 U.S. Commissioners report on the 1878 Paris Universal Exposition, where a local glassware company showcased a group of “paperweights of hollow balls filled with water, containing a man with an umbrella.” The objects also contained white powder …

The Hour Glass…designed to measure time and again has always held a fascination for both adults and children…Hourglasses are aesthetically pleasing ornaments, rather than accurate timepieces – most hourglasses (except fillable ones) are accurate to within +/- 10%…I still use an egg timer when boiling an egg…

Snow globes and hourglasses have a fascinating history and are very collectable they come with pretty scenes and some dark scenes but are always fascinating.

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour around the word “glass” …which is everywhere around us…there is also an upsurge in glass as we replace our plastic with glass in our kitchens…Thank you for joining me today I look forward to your comments and hearing about your favourite piece of “glass”…Mine is my little hand-blown glass rocking horse…

glass rocking horse

Take care as covid still lurks ready to pounce have a lovely weekend and laugh a lot the best medicine in the world xx

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…The Definition of Processed Foods…

 

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they?  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, anything connected to that food. or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three…

This week it’s…Processed Foods…

Processed food is any food which has been altered in some way during its preparation. Some examples are freezing, canning, drying and baking…

Not all processed food is unhealthy as we will learn in this post but many do contain high levels of salt, sugar and fats added to extend the shelf life of foods and make it more palatable. It is also very easy to consume far more than the recommended daily levels because many people do not read labels or labels can be misleading and a single item of food can be called by a few different names which can make it quite hard for the consumer…

I have given up the game of trying to read labels a long time ago and if I see a long list of ingredients with words I don’t know or understand then I don’t buy it…

As consumers, we cannot control what is in the food we purchase HOWEVER as consumers we can control what we choose to buy…

Something to help read those labels and tell you the sugar, salt and fat content and offer an alternative is a Food Scanner App… 

This link is a good start to finding the best food scanner app for you…

Now for examples of processed foods …

  • Cheese
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Bread
  • Snacks…Crisps, sausage rolls, pies
  • Meat: Bacon, Sausage, ham, salami and pate
  • Convenience ready meals
  • Cakes and Biscuits/Cookies
  • Drinks, milk or soft drinks
  • Breakfast cereal

Some processes are to make food safe such as pasteurisation which removes harmful bacteria from milk. Although there are many schools of thought on that now…As a child, I always had milk straight from the cows but now that many farmers use hormones etc that may not be as safe…Pasteurised fruit juices I never buy them I juice my own or buy freshly juiced I just don’t like food or drink which has been messed with unnecessarily…

Other processes to make food suitable for use such as pressing seeds to make oil. Processes to make our food safer or to enable us to eat or use something are fine it is just all the added sugar, salt and fats which get me…It gets people addicted and then it is a vicious circle and much of it is aimed at children which I think is unethical and really wrong…I can’t imagine what diseases our next generation will have because of all these additives…there is also the state of children’s teeth around the world ask any dentist!

Cereals… Porridge is good for you, especially in the winter months and keeps you full until lunchtime…Shredded wheat seems to be one of the good guys. As for other cereals like those below…I would not feed them to my children.

cereal-1444495_640

That being said, here are the worst cereals you can buy, based on their nutritional value
and sugar content…What tempts the kid’s cartoon characters like ” Cap’n Crunch” for 
one  and if I see “Quaker”  on a packet it  says to me healthy…not anymore it seems their 
 multi-grain cereal most certainly isn’t there plain old oats maybe but not those…
It does look like “Fruit Loops escaped that list this time and to be fair they have taken steps to
clean up their act…but that ingredients list is still far too long for me …

Why are they bad for you? Anything that states honey-coated, frosted or chocolate-coated contains a lot of added sugars and it is the added sugars in products which are harmful…

To me, they just sound like something which I would not wish my children to eat…Just sugar-filled nothing…cereals are something many people feed their children it quick and easy but so is putting the slow cooker on with porridge at night…

Crisps…Generally, crisps are better for you than chips as you can buy them in small packets thus restricting how much you eat… Crisps are high in salt and artificial food flavourings…

chips-3737973_640

This video on crisps and what they contain plus the best crisps to buy and eat is quite comprehensive.

There are so many processed foods that I think moderation should apply…

Biscuits…Something that we reach for when we have a cup of tea or just when we pass the biscuit tin but how healthy are they?

cookie-3216243_640

I love shortbread and a digestive with my morning cuppa but since realising just how much added sugar and calories 2 biscuits add up to over the course of the year I have stopped…This link will tell you what your favourite biscuit does or does not contain and maybe like me you will decide that they are just something that you can go without.

Or make your own and then you are safe in the knowledge that they may not be the healthiest things to eat but that they have no nasties and if eaten in moderation are much better than a store-bought packet.,,and fresh;y baked cookies/biscuits taste sooooo moreish….

https://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/wellbeing/biscuits-the-best-and-worst-revealed-41310

These biscuits are really easy to make and very moreish…

Homemade Coconut Biscuits…

I don’t make biscuits/cookies very often..almost never but once a packet of store brought cookies/biscuits are opened because of the humidity here they don’t last long they either go off or the ants take residence. I was guided to make these by the desiccated coconut and the golden syrup which was a gift from afar… aka visitors and the rolled oats which I mistakenly bought instead of the porridge oats…and they are so delicious…I know a biscuit is never either but if I have one I am going to enjoy knowing that they have no nasties and I can control the sugar…

These biscuits/cookies are my basic recipe …

Ingredients:

  • 150 gm rolled oats
  • 100 gm plain flour
  • 100 gm light brown sugar( I used raw sugar)
  • 100 gm desiccated coconut
  • 100 gm butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp of boiling water.

Let’s Cook!

Set oven to heat at 175 C, gas mark 4.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the sugar, flour, coconut and oats mix to combine well.

In a small pan add the butter and golden syrup and melt the butter. meanwhile, bring the kettle to a boil and add two tbsp of boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda in a small cup. Add this to the melted butter/syrup mix. It will foam a little.

Make a well in the centre of your dry mix and pour in the melted butter/syrup mix. Stir to thoroughly combine and it will form a slightly sticky dough.

Roll out balls and put them on a baking tray leaving a space as they will spread on cooking ( the mix made 15 balls) Slightly flatten with your hand.

Put in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

THE BISCUITS WILL BE SOFT TO THE TOUCH BUT WILL HARDEN ON COOLING.

Don’t make the mistake I made when I first made them and thought they weren’t cooked and gave them another 10 minutes. They were a tad harder than required when they cooled down…haha…I could build a wall with them…Opppps

Processed meat refers to meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. This includes sausages, bacon, ham, salami and pâtés.

Any meat that has been cured, smoked, canned or salted is a processed food, and these types of meats, including hot dogs, salami and cured bacon, are associated with increased risk of conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers such as bowel or stomach.

I can hear you asking are there any deli meats which are not classified as processed meats? Yes, there are …Fresh chicken, turkey, beef, minced meat and burgers, pork and fish that have not been modified are considered unprocessed meats…Check before you buy…

To recap many processed foods we could make at home and would be much healthier, they wouldn’t have the shelf life but would also have no nasties…or you can make an informed choice …read my post and all will be explained…

There are so many apps now where we can check out our favourite foods and be offered alternatives or we could make them at home…

Ready Meals…

I am just going to touch on ready meals today and most people’s favourite Mac and Cheese…

Homemade Mac & Cheese v processed Mac & Cheese.

macaroni and cheese

I know we can’t make everything at home and sometimes for ease, there is nothing wrong with buying processed food sometimes on occasion just not regularly as it will be detrimental to health…

Thank you for reading and I hope you now know a little more about processed foods and which ones are processed so we can eat them or cook with them safe in the knowledge that we are happy to do so… I hope you all have a great weekend xx As always I look forward to your comments xx

This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 1…Flours and Sugars…

Welcome to my kitchen… for the next few weeks, I will be repeating my updated kitchen storecupboard basics…Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard(or it’s out of date) or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…think Jim jams and have our curlers in our hair…

We all need a well-stocked store cupboard...one containing things we use and maybe just a few we don’t use so often but keep and store well…remember that if the shelf life is short maybe freeze or look for an alternative especially if it is expensive.

It takes time (and) money to build up a good store cupboard therefore I am breaking it down into easy stages…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Don’t they always though…haha

TIP OF THE WEEK.

You are reading a recipe and come across something you have never heard of or know is ridiculously expensive and doesn’t store well…It is well worth taking the time to learn what you can substitute for an ingredient and often it doesn’t alter the taste at all …But always do your research and don’t let one ingredient put you off making a recipe…

Store cupboard staples range from flour, sugar, canned goods, oils, rice, pasta, dried herbs, stock cubes(bouillon)...

Today I am starting with flours and sugars…

Flours:

store cupboard flour

Photo credit: kev_walsh on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

A kitchen essential which is used in both sweet and savoury dishes…from baking cakes and pastries, pasta making, thickening gravy and making sauces…

The flour milling industry is one of the oldest manufacturing processes in the world…But with the changes and additions to flour and bread-making, some of it is akin to eating tasteless cardboard. Because of Covid …Home baking is on the rise again…Whoopee!

Before I list the different flours and sugars I will add that I use unbleached flours and also check the origin of the flours I buy but for the purpose of a list of food basics, I am just mentioning uses not origins etc…The post would be too long and that isn’t the purpose of this post…

Cornflour/Cornstarch…Is a very fine white flour used to thicken sauces/gravies and also used to stabilise egg-based mixtures to stop curdling.

Wheat Flours…Most recipes call for plain( all-purpose) flour. For recipes which call for a raising agent… self-raising flour has added raising agents. Wholemeal flour is available as both plain and self-raising. Flour labelled as a strong bread flour has more gluten and is suitable for making bread.

Gluten-free flours…For those with a diagnosed allergy to gluten which is found in wheat and other grains …Gluten-free flour is available from most supermarkets and health food stores.

Rice Flour…Rice flour (also rice powder) is a form of flour made from finely milled rice. It is distinct from rice starch, which is usually produced by steeping rice in lye. Rice flour is a common substitute for wheat flour. It is also used as a thickening agent in recipes that are refrigerated or frozen since it inhibits liquid separation.

Rice flour is used a lot here plus it makes the lightest of sponges which are also gluten-free…it is also what I use as a thickening agent instead of cornflour.

Raising Agents…Baking powder can be added to plain flour to give a lighter texture to cakes and biscuits( cookies). The powder works as it reacts to the liquids and heat during the cooking process which produces carbon dioxide bubbles which in turn makes the mixture rise.

Baking Soda is also a leavening agent BUT they are used for different purposes…The differences

Sugar…

Sugars…Refined and raw sugars are used to sweeten and flavour many different dishes…cakes, bakes, pastries, cookies, desserts and even savoury just a little sugar brings out the sweetness of the tomato.

Brown sugar…Dark, unrefined sugars have a rich caramel flavour. There are quite a few different types of brown sugar…Light and dark muscovado (brown) sugar and dark molasses sugar. The rule of thumb is the darker the sugar the more intense the flavour. Palm sugar is my sugar of choice here and quite recently I came across banana flower sugar.

Castor sugar/superfine sugar…Is a fine-grained white sugar which is used in baking cakes and biscuits( cookies)

Demerara/raw sugar… A large crystallized sugar with a rich, slightly honeyish flavour. It is great for adding texture to cookies( biscuits) and coffee.

Granulated sugar…This refined white sugar has large crystals. It is used for sweetening drinks and everyday cooking, it can also be used as a crunchy cookie or cake topping…lovely mixed with lemon or orange juice and poured on top of a warm cake…It gives a lovely citrus crunch. It can also be used in a crumble topping for extra texture.

Icing/Confectioners sugar…The finest of all refined sugars this sugar has a powdery texture and is ideal for dusting cakes, confectionery, desserts and cookies(biscuits) such a sim0le effective decoration especially if feathered or a stencil is used. It is also used for making icing for caked or sweetening flavoured creams…

If you are setting up your store cupboard from scratch I would first decide on a suitable dry, dark cupboard and make sure you have adequate containers..glass is good I save all my glass containers I soak the labels off and indeed I have so many now I could start a shop…lol…seriously though glass can be cleaned sterilised and used over and over again plus it can be used in the fridge and freezer as well as your store cupboard.

Before you go shopping for flour and sugar…Source some favourite recipes and write your list…Plus before you go and buy that great deal on flour or sugar check the shelf life there is no good buying cheap money saving packets by the kilo if you don’t bake cakes often …

Start small and monitor how it goes…what do you use the most? we all use more of certain food staples than others so don’t get stuck with something you hardly ever use…

For example, I use more rice flour and raw sugar than I do icing sugar…SO I buy small quantities also because it is so humid here it goes hard and lumpy.

It takes me a while to get into the right frame of mind and have a recce of my store cupboard but it’s such a lovely feeling when it’s done …Now you have completed sorting your flour and sugar it’s now time to get your favourite tipple and a book and put those feet up…

Part 1 is finished...Flour and Sugar are all neat and shipshape…Next Thursday it’s Part 2  where we sort those packets of pasta and noodles until then stay safe, be well and as always… I look forward to your comments xx